By Margaret Jackson
November 9, 2013
Sometimes it is extremely important to spill the facts on issues of national importance and allow the facts to speak for itself. The Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) has been in the news lately concerning a court order to auction its movable and immovable properties due to the assembly’s inability to honour an outstanding judgment debt won against it by City and Country Waste Limited (CCWL).
The AMA and President Mahama’s government are currently reeling under severe pressure concerning the GH¢33 million judgment debt when ex-President Kufuor and his cohorts who used their thievery skills to rob CCWL are walking free.
In the late 1990s, to be precise during the second-term of President JJ Rawlings, the Canadian government gave Ghana a loan facility of 80 Million Canadian Dollars of which 20 Million Canadian Dollars was to be used for waste management purposes.
As part of the terms of the agreement reached by Ghana and Canada, the waste management equipment was to be purchased from Canada. Therefore, the government of Ghana was supposed to take the 20 Million Canadian Dollars as on-lend for the purchase of the waste management equipment from Canada. However, Ghana was to provide 15% of the 20 Million Canadian Dollars for the purchase of the equipment.
It was this loan facility that led to the partnership between CCWL and a Canadian company called Chagnon Company Limited.
The waste management equipment arrived, was commissioned and was operational before JJ Rawlings handed over the reins of government to President Kufuor in January 2001.
But it is important to note that the NPP raised an issue with the purchase of the equipment before it arrived in the country and even held a press conference and threatened to cancel the agreement if they win power in the 2000 elections.
It was therefore no wonder that the very first thing that Kufuor jumped on when he assumed power was to abrogate the existing waste management contract between Ghana and Canada. Mr IC Quaye, then Greater Accra Regional Minister under Kufuor’s government at the time seized all the equipment of CCWL and sold them to individual waste management companies.
It is alleged that many of the companies that benefitted from IC Quaye’s goody were owned by his close associates. To date, there is no evidence that the companies who acquired the equipment of CCWL paid anything to government chest.
The City and Country Waste Limited which did not take kindly to the severe abuse of power by President Kufuor and his cronies, breach of contract and loss of revenue took the government of Ghana to court. They were represented by Mr Tony Lithur.
The defence put up by the Kufuor’s government was that the agreement did not receive parliamentary approval and also the AMA did not approve the on-lend agreement.
Mr Kwamena Ahwoi who was the Minister of Local Government and the one who commissioned the waste management equipment was called to testify in court. Mr Ahwoi tendered in evidence a parliamentary Hansard on the waste management loan agreement.
In the Hansard, the court saw that Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, who was the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning during Rawlings’ second term, was the one who presented the loan agreement for parliamentary approval.
The court also got copies of newspaper publication of the loan agreement in addition to minutes of the AMA which approved of the on-lend agreement. The above evidence, therefore, collapsed the defence of the government in the lawsuit instituted by the CCWL.
As a result, CCWL won the case and was awarded 17 Million Dollars by an Accra High Court in 2005. But President Kufuor will have nothing of it as he pushed the case to the Appeals and Supreme Courts, where the government lost in each instance.
Having lost in three stretches one would have expected President Kufuor to honour the court’s order and pay CCWL. But Kufuor used his bullying tactics and refused to pay the amount to CCWL.
The refusal to pay the amount led to interest charges which has ballooned the total amount to the current GH¢33 million judgment debt hanging on the neck of the AMA and Ghanaian tax payers.
This is an issue which must never escape the attention of Ghanaians because Kufuor is trying to behave as a Saint who did nothing wrong while in office. Currently, both movable and unmovable properties of the AMA have been put on sale and it was the last minute intervention of the government that has put the whole transaction on hold.
Ex-President Kufuor has been cited for so many reckless behaviours whiles in office, but somehow he always get some loud-mouthed journalists and cohorts to come to his defense. The current 24 Million Dollar drillship saga is an issue which Kufuor is deeply and malodorous involved, but he has somehow maneuvered and stayed away from the raging debate.
Interestingly, Kufuor is calling on Ghanaians to demand accountability from their leaders when all what he cared about during his tenure was looting the coffers of the country to enrich himself. No doubt he once famously stated that he entered politics to make money. Is there therefore any difference between Kufuor and recently dismissed Deputy Communications Minister, Vitoria Hamah who was caught on tape stating that she will only quit politics after making $1 million?